Shifting Tone in All-New Wolverine 22

by Drew Baumgartner

All-New Wolverine 22

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The tonal range of Tom Taylor’s All New Wolverine is truly remarkable. We’ve seen issues of high drama and irreverent fun, all of which gives this series a depth of emotional experience that at least approaches real life. Moreover, the range allows Taylor to wield tone with a nuance that is rare in superhero comics, juxtaposing and combining them within issues to evoke ever more specific emotions. The surprising tonal twist in issue 22 is far from the most subtle Taylor has ever pulled, but I’ll be darned if it isn’t effective.

The opening 3/4 of the book read like a comedy — we find Laura and Gabby trading wits with Deadpool and later the Guardians of the Galaxy, two of Marvel’s most reliable joke-makers. But, of course, Gabby holds her own with all of them, bringing Deadpool to tears with her gags. She steals the scenes even when they’re explicitly about something else.

Gabby and Groot

And that, ultimately, is the key to what makes the ending so effective; this issue isn’t just funny — it reminds us that Gabby is a significant source of joy for Laura (and this series). In that way, when the brood shows up and captures her, it’s not just a shocking surprise, it sets clear emotional stakes. All of the fun of this issue was stripped away twice over in that moment. Plus, it sets up Aliens, but with Laura Kinney as Ripley — who could not be excited by that?

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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One comment on “Shifting Tone in All-New Wolverine 22

  1. There isn’t much more to say about Gabby than you already said, Drew, so I won’t waste time repeating it (though I do want tos ay that her scenes with Wade with so utterly perfect. That is a relationship I really hope gets developed, and I really loved the touch of them swapping headgear).

    Also, I like how the Guardians seem to be a more interesting choice of partner for this storyline than first appeared. I thought it was just because the Guardians and Cosmic Marvel were big deals these days, but more thought has been put into it than you expect. Laura has actually a very limited experience with other superheroes outside of the X-Men. In a perfect world, the Fantastic FOur would be the best choice for this stoyr, but considering the two most connected to Laura are off the table, the Guardians are actually the best choice of a non X-Men partner, thanks to Bendis’ crossover between the X-Men and the Guardians. And it looks to have a lot of potential. As the Guardians, they help push Laura into new spaces as she defines herself in a post Kimura world, but they are also the rare team that actually knows Laura from before. A lot cleverer choice than first assumed, which is what always makes this book always a pleasant surprise. I hope we get more development on that front, alongside the more important story around Gabby

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